Basic Cloud Computing Patterns for Application Development
Design patterns help not only in the development process but across the application development life cycle
By: Mahesh Kumar
Jan. 7, 2014 08:15 AM
Over the past few years, the cloud evolution has answered all questions on the cloud being the right strategy. The key challenge that remains now is leveraging cloud capabilities and features in such a way that they can be used to innovate as well as solve business problems. If we relate different cloud migration strategies executed over time, we'll find many similarities. There has been focus on cloud assessment as well as a consideration for application development approaches. Even though business cases are different, we can still link the proposed or implemented cloud-based solutions with a set of design patterns. If we have to define a design pattern, the most common definition states it as, ‘A widely used concept in computer science to describe good solutions to re-occurring problems in an abstract form.' Any abstract solution to recurring problems in the domain of cloud computing can be referred to as a cloud computing pattern that is independent of concrete providers, products and programming languages.
The following are some basic application architecture patterns. Most of these were referred to as cloud best practices in the beginning. As we come across multiple real-time implementations, we shall be able to easily identify a pattern in them.
Composite applications are one of the main elements in service-oriented architecture (SOA) that help in contextual collaboration. This approach makes applications extendable right from the beginning. The integration of other applications is also simplified by using the same integration techniques inside individual applications.
Example of a Composite Application for a Travel Booking Process
The key to a successful implementation of this pattern is achieving the correct balance in the distribution of functionality across multiple components. With too few components, integrating new functionality and changing the application flexibly will need extra time due to likelihood of errors. On the other hand, if the functionality is distributed among too many components, there will be a higher communication overhead for the application to perform. Composite application patterns used along with loose coupling (explained earlier) helps extract the benefits of cloud features like elasticity, payment models and standardized management.
Decoupling your components, building asynchronous systems and scaling horizontally become very important in the context of the cloud. It will not only allow you to scale out by adding more instances of the same component but also allow you to design innovative hybrid models in which a few components continue to run ‘on-premise' while the other components can take advantage of the ‘cloud-scale' and use the cloud for additional compute-power and bandwidth.
The following is a sample illustration of decoupling components using queues and AWS specific tactics:
Ref: Whitepaper on Architecting for the AWS Cloud: Best Practices.
AWS specific techniques for implementing this best practice are as follows:
Loose coupling normally results in performance reduction because asynchronous communication using messages adds a lot of overhead due to the communication path being longer. Though it needs to be weighed between loose coupling and performance, things can be easily handled by scaling resources out.
In cloud, elasticity can be implemented in three ways:
Other Cloud Computing Patterns
Design patterns help not only in the development process but across the application development life cycle. In their abstracted form, patterns make themselves applicable to challenges that the developers of cloud application face today that are independent of the actual technologies as well as cloud services that are being used. Applying them to the cloud lets your application extract maximum benefits of cloud platforms.
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